Miller Grover’s story: How one family battled a brain tumor.
In 2013, when he was just 16 months old, Miller Grover had what doctors originally thought was just a case of the stomach flu. But after a few days, he wasn’t getting any better. So his parents, Alanda and Joe (a Medtronic employee), decided to take him to the hospital. There scans revealed the cause of Miller’s nausea and lethargy: a brain tumor that was causing fluid buildup and pressure.
In just hours, Miller went from being a healthy toddler to undergoing brain surgery to remove the tumor and relieve the pressure. When the results came back, they revealed every parent’s worst nightmare: a cancer diagnosis.
And to make matters worse, Miller suffered a stroke during the procedure. He lost much of his mobility — as well as his ability to swallow. It was critical to maintain Miller’s health and nutrition as much as possible while he underwent aggressive treatments, including radiation, chemotherapy, and stem-cell transplants. “Typically when you go through these treatments, you lose weight,” says Joe.
“As parents we were worried. How are we going to keep him fed? How are we going to keep him going?”
Doctors recommended that Miller receive a feeding tube and enteral pump to make sure he got all the essential nutrients he needed. The portable Kangaroo™ Joey enteral feeding pump supplemented his meals at home and could be programmed to provide him continuous or intermittent feeding when needed.
Miller did not lose any weight throughout his treatment. In fact, he gained weight.
“We were able to keep his nutrition up,” says Alanda. “I am a huge believer that the pump is what was able to help him fight the chemo. It was probably one of the best decisions we made.”
Miller recently passed his swallow test and can now consume soft foods. He still uses the Kangaroo™ Joey enteral feeding pump to supplement.
Now 3 years old, Miller attends physical, occupational, and speech therapy weekly. He recently started school and, thanks to the Make-a-Wish® foundation, met Mickey Mouse at Walt Disney World with his family.
Recovery can be a long road. It requires a lot of strength and effort, not only from Miller but also from his parents and two older sisters. But given everything the Grovers have been through, they clearly have plenty of strength to go around.
“It’s going to take a lot of hard work and a lot of re-teaching,” says Joe. “But I think it’s absolutely something we can do.”
1 Tappenden KA, Quatrara B, Parkhurst ML, Malone AM, Fanjiang G, Ziegler TR. Critical role of nutrition in improving quality of care: An interdisciplinary call to action to address adult hospital malnutrition. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013;113:1219-1237.